The DSM-III narrative remarks suggest that childhood separation anxiety disorder and sudden object loss apparently predispose to the development of adult panic disorder, despite the paucity of empirical studies documenting such a relationship. In an attempt to test the validity of this separation anxiety hypothesis of panic disorder, 14 objective questions pertaining to childhood separation experiences were answered by 23 panic disorder patients and 28 small-animal phobics. Although the panic disorder patients scored higher on 2 of the 14 items, these differences appear to have little clinical meaning. Caution is indicated prior to continued uncritical acceptance of the separation anxiety hypothesis of panic disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health